A week ago I was fed up. I was working really hard on the book, longing to get to the end, and yet struggling with the process. My lovely mentor said I needed to slow down. I didn't want to hear that, but she was very persuasive:
"Sometimes our authorial selves just need a break! The trouble with being dependant on word counts is that there's a risk of not having breathing space to let the book just 'be' for a while. If the pleasure has gone out of the process, I promise that will show in the writing itself. There's no way it couldn't. Maybe you need to ease up on yourself and stop racing to the end. I've always said that writing is so much more than words on the page. It's the walk in the country, the sit on the bus, the lie in the bath ... all the times when your book is sitting on your shoulder and whispering in your ear, even though you're not notching up the word count directly. Obviously I also want you to be able to finish this book, but if you're hating the writing I can't believe you will feel good with the finished product or that it will be anything like the standard I know it could be and indeed should be if it is to have any chance of fulfilling its potential."
Reluctantly, I had to admit she was right. So I grumbled to a halt and felt cross with the whole world. Writing a book was a stupid idea, it was a rubbish book and nobody would ever want to read it.
Then on Thursday I sold a short story. Woo hoo! My fourth sale, to The Weekly News who bought my first story too. That cheered me up a whole lot.
And on Friday I found myself thinking about my book quite lovingly, and with some interest, which was a pleasant experience.
Over the weekend I wrote a short story in a new genre, and really enjoyed using language to create emotion in the reader. (At least, that's what I was trying to do. I'm sure my short story group will tell me whether I've achieved my aim.)
Later today, or tomorrow, I am going to start work on the book again. Instead of feeling stroppy and resentful, I'm looking forward to it. I've cleared my way through some other jobs, to free up time, and I've worked out a new way to tackle the writing. I may even take the final stretch at a more leisurely pace. No promises, though!